Portland’s own Lana Veenker is celebrating 20 years as a casting director! In that time, she’s made a name for herself both here and abroad — having just returned from the Rome Film Festival where she rubbed elbows with Italian film royalty. Lana joined us to look back at the last 20 years of film and TV productions in Oregon. For more information about Lana Veenker, check her out on IMDb.
Many thanks to the team at AM Northwest for helping us celebrate this milestone! We’re so grateful for our community.
Plans to celebrate a milestone anniversary for Cast Iron Studios were postponed after the company’s founder, Casting Director Lana Veenker, was invited to serve on the jury of the Rome Film Festival’s Alice Nella Città program on October 26th, 2019.
“Spending my 20th anniversary in casting as a jurist at the Rome Film Festival was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Veenker. The other jurists included Talent Agent Frédérique Moidon (France), Cinematographer Alfonso Maiorana (Canada), and Producer Uliana Kovaleva (Russia).
Veenker, who spent about a decade overseas before founding Cast Iron Studios in 1999, has always incorporated her love for travel and languages with her vocation in the entertainment industry. She studied theatre in Paris and Cambridge, and performed on stages in four countries and three languages prior to landing a job in a London casting office in the late 90s. She has lectured in more than 20 countries, and in 2008, was one of the sole Americans to have been inducted into the International Casting Directors Network (headquartered in Berlin), where she currently serves on its first official board of directors.
On October 26th (the date of Cast Iron Studios’ first casting session 20 years prior), Veenker was on stage again, this time in Rome to present the DO Cine Rising Talent Award for Best Young Performer (International Panorama), which was awarded to Belgium’s Anna Franziska Jäger for her performance in Cleo. Other award presenters included Carlo Verdone, one of Italy’s most renowned actors, and Screenwriter Nicola Guaglianone.
“It was a whirlwind weekend, with an incredibly warm welcome from everyone at the Rome Film Festival, especially Talent Agent Daniele Orazi and Producer Carla Mori,” said Veenker. “Once they learned about my 20th anniversary, they rolled out the red carpet to make it an unforgettable experience.”
While Cast Iron Studios’ anniversary celebration back home has been postponed to a yet-unknown date, the weekend’s events in Rome represented a full circle for Veenker.
“I began my career with the dream of working internationally, and have somehow realized that goal, even while remaining based in Portland. It felt like an affirmation of more than two decades of hard work.”
Click below to listen to one of Lana’s interviews in Rome:
Thanks to TV series like “Portlandia” and “The Librarians,” show business is still booming in Oregon and there are still new projects in our future. Casting Director Lana Veenker stopped by KATU’s Afternoon Live on March 28th to fill in Tra’Rénee on the latest.
Lana Veenker and Oregon Film Commissioner Tim Williams recently sat down with Mary Loos from KATU to talk about Oregon’s growing film industry. Grimm and Portlandia have ended, but their success, along with Oregon’s reputation and film incentive, make the possibility of higher quality productions in the future probable.
As some of you may have heard, our offices were damaged by a fire on Saturday, August 27th. Luckily, no one was injured, and the fire, which started on the roof, did not reach our floor. The smoke and water damage to our space, however, made it impossible to use and left us scrambling for an alternative. KATU covered the story:
Thankfully, we have been able to keep to our schedule by renting out space from nearby businesses. As we wade through waterlogged files, bag up garbage that used to be office supplies, and work out where to recycle the soaked electronics, we are staying positive, knowing that it could have been much worse.
We are grateful for the outpouring of support and offers of help that we received from our community through social media, phone calls and emails.
Meanwhile, the show must go on! Casting continues at a lively pace as we head into fall, and we’re grateful for that as well.
Thanks to TV shows like “The Librarians” and “Portlandia,” show business is booming in Oregon. Casting Director Lana Veenker stopped by AM Northwest on March 30th to talk to Helen Raptis about what types of productions could be coming to the state soon.
The fun-filled day featured mock auditions, a Q&A with the team at CIS, and guest speakers Mary McDonald-Lewis (dialect coach), Kendall Wells (fight choreographer and instructor), and Grimm Executive Producer Norberto Barba.
The celebration ended with a press reception, with guests including Mayor and First Lady Hales, Representative Lew Frederick, Portland Development Commission’s Brian Lord, Portland City Council candidate Fred Stewart and many others.
When TV and film productions come to town, job openings come too! Casting Director Lana Veenker stopped by AM Northwest on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, to fill us in on what’s going on now, and possible job opportunities too!
In case you missed the segment on AM Northwest this morning, here it is!
“It’s a movie based on the best-selling book by local author Cheryl Strayed. Wild is playing now in Portland and we were happy to be joined by two local actors who played memorable parts, Jan Hoag and Will Cuddy, along with Casting Director Lana Veenker.”